Oeno Island

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Pitcairn Islands

Satellite photo of Oeno Island
Location: 23°55’0"S, 130°43’60"W
Area: 8 square miles

Oeno Island is a coral atoll in the South Pacific Ocean, part of the Pitcairn Islands overseas territory. It is also known to the Pitcairn islanders as Holiday Island.

Oeno Island serves as a private holiday site for the few residents of Pitcairn Island, who will travel there and stay for two weeks in January.[1]

The island's name is pronounced oʊiːnoʊ ('ohEEnoh'). The name is not Polynesian but Greek; it was named after the whaling ship Œno (ˈiːnoʊ), though locally the island's name is pronounced not classically but phonetically.


Map of Oeno Island

Oeno is to be found in the ocean 89 miles northwest of Pitcairn Island, at -23.92389 -130.73417. The atoll measures about 3 miles in diameter, including the central lagoon, with a total area exceeding 8 square miles. There are two larger and three smaller islets on or within the rim of the atoll. Their aggregate land area is only 171 acres.

The main island (Oeno), about 128 acres in area, has forest and scrub with pandanus and palm trees. It is located in the southwest part of the atoll's lagoon. There is a water tap installed on the island.[2] The maximum elevation is less than 16 feet. Sandy Island (or Islands) is to the northeast and may be an ephemeral island. Three smaller islets are to the south and west of the main island.

Important Bird Area

The island has been identified by BirdLife International as an 'Important Bird Area', principally for its colony of Murphy's Petrels, which, at some 12,500 pairs, is estimated to be the second largest colony of these birds in the world.[3]


June 1819
Captain James Henderson of the British East India Company ship Hercules sights Oeno Island.
26 January 1824
Captain George Worth aboard the American whaler Oeno names the atoll after his ship.
5 March 1858
The Wild Wave, a 1500 ton clipper ship sailing from San Francisco, is wrecked on Oeno's reef.[4]
The Khandeish is wrecked on Oeno[5]
23 August 1883
The Oregon is wrecked on Oeno
April 1893
The Bowdon is wrecked on Oeno
10 July 1902
Oeno annexed by the United Kingdom
Incorporated into the Pitcairn Islands colony
Polynesian Rats exterminated

Outside links


  1. South Pacific & Micronesia. Lonely Planet. 2006. p. 427. ISBN 1-74104-304-2. "Unless you've got your own yacht, your only chance of getting to Oeno is in January, when Pitcairners fit out two of their longboats with essential supplies and swap everyday life on Pitcairn for a fortnight's summer holiday on Oeno." 
  2. Fresh water is pumped out of a well dug in the sand – library.puc.edu
  3. Oeno Island - BirdLife International; Important Bird Areas
  4. http://www.winthrop.dk/wildwave.html
  5. Silverman, David (1967). Pitcairn Island. Cleveland, Ohio: World Publishing Company. p. 125. http://books.google.com/books?id=EmN0AAAAMAAJ. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
The Pitcairn Islands